Following last months historic milestone where Android 4.1 became the predominant version of Android, Jelly Bean has continued its rise while Android 2.3 Gingerbread continues to fade. At present over 45 percent of Android devices used today run Android 4.1 or Android 4.2, while only 30.7 percent use Android 2.3.3+.
Taking the Android 4.x branch as a whole (4.0, 4.1 and 4.2) the latest data from Google shows that over two-thirds of Android devices are running a version of Android which works equally as well on a tablet and on a smartphone. Android 2.3 Gingerbread wasn’t designed to run on tablets (even though some companies like Samsung forced it onto their first generation devices). The tablet optimized version of Android was Android 3.x Honeycomb, which just barely appears on the stats with a 0.1 percent share. Android 4.x was the amalgamation of the tablet optimization with the phone version of Android.
Conspicuous by their absence
The data collected by Google shows only devices which connected to the Google Play Store and since the app store is only available for devices running Android 2.2 or above it means that this is the first time that Android 1.6 Donut or Android 2.1 Eclair don’t appear on Google’s official statistics. However these two versions aren’t significant as in July only 0.1 percent of devices which connected to any Google service used Android 1.6 and only 1.2 percent used Android 2.1. These two versions can now be considered dead.
Also missing off the radar is Android 2.3, 2.3.1 and 2.3.2. The initial release of Gingerbread was made at the end of 2010 and support Android API level 9, however by February 2011 Google released Android 2.3.3 which support API level 10. Since then original Gingerbread versions have played a less significant role and in July of this year its usage was down to 0.1 percent. It has now dipped below 0.1 percent and so can also be considered dead.
Android 4.3 doesn’t yet appear on Google statistics which is surprising as Google’s Nexus range and the Google Play Edition devices received the update to 4.3 during the latter part of July. Since these stats measure Android devices connecting to the Play Store for a 7-day period ending on September 4th, one would assume that Android 4.3 should appear somewhere in the numbers.
Does this mean that the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 aren’t as popular as we believe? This does seem to be an anomaly as Android 4.2 was released in mid-November 2012 but by December 3rd 2012 it already registered a 0.8 percent share and by January 3rd a 1.2 percent share. It is now nearly six weeks since Google released 4.3, so where is it???
What do you think? Has Google forgotten to show the stats for Android 4.3? Is it missing in action? Will Samsung’s planned upgrade of the Galaxy S3 and S4 in October help Google find its latest OS version? Let me know you thoughts by leaving a comment below.
Upload, clip and selectively crop videos originally taken outside of Instagram.
Instagram has announced today that it is pushing out the first major update to its app since the release of Instagram Video back in June, putting the app to version 4.1 and adding new features and device compatibility. First up is a new feature that lets you upload any video from your device, rather than just limiting video to what you capture from within the app. When selecting a video from your gallery you can select just the part you want to share, as well as selectively square-crop the best area of the clip.
Additionally, Instagram is expanding video capabilities down to devices running Ice Cream Sandwich, which opens up the service's latest feature to millions more devices. One new feature, "Automatic Straightening", is hitting with this update on iOS but at this point hasn't been announced for the Android app.
The app update doesn't seem to be live in the Play Store just yet, but it slated to be available today. You can grab the latest version when it propagates in the store at the link above, and in the meantime see screenshots of the new video UI at the source link below.
<p><img src="http://cdn02.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Panasonic-Android-home-phone.jpg" alt="Panasonic Android home phone" width="645" height="385" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-251088" /><br /> Although we haven’t heard much at all from <a href="/tag/panasonic/">Panasonic</a> in the past year, the Japan-based company is still well and truly alive. As a matter of fact, they just finished working on a new addition to its line of DECTs or digital cordless phones. Landlines, to the layperson. </p> <p>And what are we doing, talking about a landline on this news report? Well, it just so happens that Panasonic’s newest home phone, called the KX-PRX120, comes with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. </p> <p>Basically, the Panasonic KX-PRX120 is a regular phone in a smartphone’s clothing. Its main distinction from other landline phones — apart from the fact that it comes with a rather old but still useful version of the Android OS — is that it has a built-in 3.5-inch HVGA (320×480 pixels) display, as well as a front-facing camera for video calls. And how exactly will it work as a video phone? Easy: just get Skype on it through the Google Play Store.</p> <p>The KX-PRX120 from Panasonic proves two things. That companies still have the audacity to use cryptic and boring names with its latest products in 2013, and that modern-day landlines don’t have to be the “one trick pony” type devices that they’ve always been. </p> <p>The price for one Panasonic KX-PRX120 should fall at around $259 or £169. Read the full press release with more info below.</p> <div class="toggle_button"></div><div class="press_release"></p> <h3>Panasonic Expands its Digital Phone Range with New Touch Panel Models</h3> <p> Panasonic, the worldwide number one brand of cordless telephones for 10 consecutive years*, has today announced a new product in its premium range of Digital Cordless Phones (DECT): KX-PRX120, which has a smartphone style handset. Exclusive in Design, Smart in Function</p> <p> The KX-PRX120 digital cordless phone will run on the Android™ operating system allowing users to enjoy various options for communicating in addition to conventional voice communication via the landline. The Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich offers an advanced telephone experience at home.</p> <p> In addition to the DECT interface, there is a Wi-Fi® / Bluetooth® interface on the handset. The KX-PRX120 is available with an answering machine and has been designed to be lightweight, compact and easy to carry. One can receive incoming landline calls in and around the house as far as the DECT signal will reach. The comfortable size of the touch screen also enables a more intuitive and comfortable operation of the device.</p> <p> Access to Google Play™ with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich</p> <p> The KX-PRX platform is based on Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and supports Google Play which enables users to download their favourite applications, access their social networks, or share a photo album with family and friends.</p> <p> Panasonic’s new KX-PRX120 can be used as a video phone thanks to the built-in front camera enabling users to enjoy video communication by Skype™. In addition to voice communication, users can enjoy other types of communication –such as E-mail, SNS, video, or schedule sharing (Google Calendar™).<br /> Packed with Features<br /> Don’t be fooled by the small, slim, yet stylish design, the KX-PRX120 is packed with a host of innovative features that make managing calls easier than ever, including:</p> <p> · 3.5 inch TFT colour LCD (HVGA) with capacitive multi touch screen</p> <p> · Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS</p> <p> · 0.3M pixel Front Camera</p> <p> · 1450mAh Li-ion Battery</p> <p> · microSD / microSDHC Card Slot on Handset</p> <p> · micro USB Charging Port</p> <p> · Incoming/Outgoing Call Barring to help minimise unwanted or nuisance calls</p> <p> · Caller ID, Caller ID memory</p> <p> · Answering Machine (For KX-PRX120, 40min)</p> <p> · Key Finder accessory (Optional)</p> <p> · Up to 6 handsets (Optional handset or GAP supported DECT handset) can be registered</p> <p> Trademarks and registered trademarks</p> <p> · Android and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc.<br /> · Skype is a trade mark of Skype.<br /> · The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are owned by the Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by<br /> · Panasonic Corporation is under license.<br /> · Wi-Fi® is a registered mark of the Wi-Fi Alliance.<br /> · All other trademarks identified herein are the property of their respective owner.</p> <p></div>
Jelly Bean now used on just under 38% of active Android devices.
The latest set of numbers showing which versions of Android are actually being used in the real world have been published by Google. The new data shows that Android 4.x, which includes Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly bean, runs on over 61 percent of devices, while Jelly Bean itself (Android 4.1 and Android 4.2) runs on just under 38 percent of devices.
This is the first time that Jelly Bean has taken the lead from Gingerbread which has stubbornly stayed active even though it has been superseded several times. However Gingerbread’s usage is in decline. At the beginning of this year Android 2.3 was running on just under half of all active Android devices and Jelly Bean had just a 10 percent share. Ice Cream Sandwich was popular with just under 30 percent usage. Fast forward six months and Jelly Bean is king having taken share from Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich.
Google generates these numbers based on “data collected during a 14-day period ending on July 8, 2013″ and use Google’s new counting method. Since April, 2013, the data now contains the number of devices that are used to visit the Google Play Store, rather than any device that simply checked-in to Google servers. Google reckon that this is a more accurate way to count the users who are actually active in the Android ecosystem.
As for the rest of the field Android 2.1 and 2.2 are still used on 4.5 percent of devices while Android 1.6 Donut and Android 3.2 Honeycomb barely register at 0.1 percent. The reason for Gingerbread’s longevity is likely because of its low system requirements. It is still possible to buy low end smartphones running Gingerbread today. Since it can run on devices with only 256MB of memory (or maybe even less) and doesn’t need a very fast GPU then for emerging markets it is still a viable option. How long it will remain so is unclear, however the fact that Jelly Bean has finally taken the lead coupled with the fact that Android 4.x runs on over 61 percent of active devices, it seems that the end is nigh for Gingerbread.
Gingerbread served us well, but personally I won’t miss it when it finally becomes extinct.
I love my third party Android spin off products, especially the mini Android dongles for your TV. But if only someone would throw some quality speakers into the mix with that, then you’d really have my attention. And that’s exactly what Sceptre has done with its new SB301524W Sound Bar 2.1.
The Sceptre Sound Bar 2.1 is an all-in-one system which turns your traditional HDTV into an Android powered Smart TV, which certainly makes a lot of sense if you’re already in the market for some decent living room speakers.
But the real added benefit here is that you can access the Google Play Store, and all of your associated music files, games, movies, etc, and play them directly through these speakers and your TV, without the need for any additional hardware. If, like me, you’re tired of plugging an HDMI cable and audio jack into your tablet every time you want to stream something in your living room, then this product seems like an excellent solution.
Sceptre has included plenty of functionality, and it looks pretty sleek too.
For audio hardware you’re looking at two 2-inch 18 Watt active speakers with an additional 3-inch 35 Watt 65Hz – 250 Hz subwoofer to take care of the low end. The system comes with two stereo RCA inputs, one 3.5mm stereo jack, and a Coaxial input for digital audio.
As for the Android part, there’s just a single core Cortex A9 clocked at 1 GHz accompanied by a Mali 400 GPU, which is a little bit weak by modern standards, but should still be enough for music and films, which after all is the product’s main purpose. The system also comes equipped with 1GB RAM, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, support for 720p and 1080p output resolutions, and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, which seems to have everything covered.
But a word of caution; the system only comes equipped with 4GB of internal memory, which certainly isn’t enough for a decent music collection, let alone a selection of your favourite movies. Fortunately there is a 32GB microSD card slot and USB connectivity which supports an additional 2TB of extra space, so external hard drives or memory cards should be a work around for any memory issues, but that’s obviously an added expense.
If you’re interested in the SB301524W sound bar, it is currently available for $299.99 at Walmart, Amazon, Tiger Direct, Sears, K-Mart and NewEgg. Hopefully we’ll see a few more Android powered audio products in the future.
Sceptre Turns your Big Screen HDTV into a Smart TV with a Sound Bar 2.1 with Android™
Sound Bar 2.1 with built-in subwoofer and Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 enables users to connect to the internet and download apps from Google Play Store
City of Industry, CA – June 27, 2013 – Sceptre, superior manufacturers of world class LED and LCD HDTVs and PC displays, unveils the SB301524W Speaker Sound Bar 2.1 with built-in subwoofer, Android platform and Wi-Fi connection to turn your ordinary HDTV into a smart TV through plug and play technology, enabling users to access movies, music, apps and games.
Sceptre’s newest Sound Bar 2.1 includes Android’s interactive media operating system to create the perfect entertainment atmosphere with the support of Wi-Fi and Android Platform. With the Android OS, users can access the Google Play™ Store to download thousands of songs, games, movies and apps to enhance their TV experience.
The SB301524W Sound Bar 2.1 incorporates a variety of technologies and components to produce room filling surround sound, including a 35W subwoofer with passive radiator, SRS WOW HD™ audio technology and dual front facing speakers. SRS WOW HD, developed by DTS technologies, improves the audio by widening the sound field, raising the vertical sound image and retrieving lost audio information during the mixing process to create a more natural surround sound experience.
Elegantly designed to complement HDTVs 42-inches and above, the SB301524W sound bar features a trendy touch sensor control panel to easily adjust volume, preset modes or sound sources, an auto-dimming LED screen that displays current settings and a remote control compatible with multiple Sceptre HDTVs. It is also the ideal replacement for expensive and bulky surround sound systems, eliminating unsightly wires, expensive adaptors and the need to have a separate subwoofer.
“The Sound Bar 2.1 with built-in subwoofer and Android Platform turns your traditional HDTV into a Smart TV at a fraction of the cost,” said Cathy Chou, Sceptre’s vice president of operations. “Our newest addition to the family of sound bars not only enhances your HDTV experience, but also brings people closer by giving you access to the same applications as a computer, including Skype, Facebook, Instant Messenger and more.”
To enhance the overall experience, Sceptre offers an optional smart remote control that replicates the functionality of a traditional mouse and keyboard. The SB301524W sound bar can be easily wall-mounted using only two screws and is currently available for $299.99 at Walmart, Amazon, Tiger Direct, Sears, K-Mart and NewEgg.
Welcome friends to the “Back to Basics” series, where we run a fine toothed comb over each and every aspect of Android so that you can make an educated decision on which Android device is for you. This week’s edition is all about Android versions, and we’ll be releasing a new edition to the series every week, so stay tuned.
But enough chit chat, it’s time to dive into the incredible world that is Android.
I’ll try and cut the history lesson short, so here it goes. The first phone running Android was the HTC Dream in 2008, and ever since then, Android has grown astronomically. You’ll often see the words “Jelly Bean”, “Ice Cream Sandwich” and “Gingerbread”, written on Android Authority. No, we don’t have candy fetishes (alright, maybe some of us do), instead this is the naming scheme given to Android versions.
Android versions are named in alphabetical order, after a particular sweet or dessert, so that would be Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and the latest version, Jelly Bean.
We’ll skip the earlier versions in this series, as not only are they old and outdated, meaning you’d be hard pressed to find a device still running them, but also because if you’re looking for a device to buy, you shouldn’t buy a device running those versions, no matter how good the price is.
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
Released in December 2010, Android 2.3 Gingerbread brought with it many changes which made Android a much better operating system. The highlights include support for multiple cameras (like front facing cameras for example), simplicity and speed improvements, a better keyboard, support for Near Field Communications, and battery improvements.
You’ll find Gingerbread running on older devices, as well as some budget devices, and while it is still a very solid operating system, you’d be recommended to get a device running a higher version of Android, if possible.
Samsung Nexus S – The first phone to run Android 2.3 Gingerbread
Popular devices running Gingerbread: Samsung Nexus S (upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), Samsung Galaxy S2 (upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), HTC Sensation (upgradable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich) and the Motorola Droid Razr (upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean).
Android 3.0 Honeycomb
Released in February 2011, Honeycomb was the first Android version to be optimized for tablets. It was also the first (and only) version of Android to only support tablets. It came with features like a new user interface (UI) design dubbed “Holo”, which has carried on through Android to the latest versions of Jelly Bean. A redesigned keyboard, simplified multitasking, multiple tabs in the web browser, and resizable widgets were some other major additions to Honeycomb.
The Motorola Xoom
Since only tablets can run Honeycomb, there were very few devices running on this version of Android and most of them have been updated to newer versions.
Popular devices running Honeycomb: Motorola Xoom (Upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), Asus Eee Pad Transformer (Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich), and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 (Upgradable to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich).
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS)
Released in October 2011, Ice Cream Sandwich brought together tablets and smartphones onto one version of Android. It also brought the Holo UI to smartphones, as well as improvements to stability, a simpler way to create folders, face unlock, and a new and improved camera app.
The Galaxy S3 was the most popular phone to come with Ice Cream Sandwich
Popular devices running Ice Cream Sandwich: Samsung Galaxy S3 (upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), HTC One X (upgradable to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean), Samsung Galaxy Nexus (upgradable to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean), Motorola Droid Razr HD and the Sony Xperia T (upgradable to Android 4.1).
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Released in July 2012, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean was an incremental upgrade from Ice Cream Sandwich, but a rather notable one, nonetheless.
It brought features like Project Butter, which is designed to make Android a much smoother and lag free operating system, expandable notifications, and Google Now, an intelligent personal assistant. If you’d like to know more about Google Now, click here for our in-depth article on how to use Google Now.
Released in November 2012, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is another incremental upgrade (that’s why it shares the name as the last version), but it still contains many features. These included a new keyboard with gesture typing, notification power controls, lock screen widgets, and multiple user accounts for tablets.
The Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 were the first devices to run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Another big feature of Android 4.2 Jelly Bean is Photo Sphere, which is a 360° panorama photo taking software. Think of it as like the photos you see in Google Maps Street View. For an indepth look at Photosphere, check out our article on it by clicking here, or to see Photosphere in action, check out the video below.
When looking for a new Android smartphone or tablet you’ll need to be aware of these versions of Android, if you want to make an educated decision.
If you’re on a really tight budget, you’ll be looking at phones running either Android 2.3 Gingerbread or Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. When you’ve got two devices that are the same cost and the only thing you’re giving up are a few megapixels, than always go with the one running Ice Cream Sandwich. Not only will you be getting a better user experience, you’ll be able to run almost every one of the hundreds of thousands of apps in the Play Store. Some app makers have dropped support for phones running Gingerbread, so most apps will work, but some won’t
The evolution of Android. Key Lime Pie is expected to be the name of Android 5.0.
When you are entering the mid range market you’ll have lots of different choices, but most of your choices will be running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Like I stated in the above paragraph, if you aren’t giving up something that is absolutely crucial to your daily life, pick the smartphone running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean — you’ll thank me later.
In the high end market there are a plethora of choices, but never, and I mean never, settle for anything less than Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. If you’re looking for the absolute top of the range specs you should look at the Galaxy S4, the HTC One and the Sony Xperia Z, but if you’re willing to lose a little bit of grunt (and save some cash in the process), the Nexus 4 is a great option.
The Nexus 4 is the cheapest high end smartphone, retailing for $300.
On the tablet side of things, you really shouldn’t be settling for anything less than Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, especially when choices like the Nexus 7, which starts at $199, are running the latest version of Android. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Nexus 10 shapes up as another great option, and if you’re looking for a laptop-like tablet, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity is what you want. But if you’re looking for a content creation tablet, the only viable option is a Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 or a Samsung Galaxy Galaxy Note 10.1.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of the “Back to Basics” series. I’ll be back next week for the next edition of the series, but if you can’t wait until then, here are a few articles to keep you occupied:
Check out a comparison of Gingerbead and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich by clicking here.
Picking between two tablets running Ice Cream Sandwich and Android 3.0 Honeycomb? Click here to see the difference.
Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.1 Jelly Bean? Hit the link to find out.
Can’t decide between the two Jelly Bean brothers? Check out this article which explains all the changes.
Have you got any questions about Android? Drop a question in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer them.
Android stats have been published on the Android Developers website, showing once again that Jelly Bean is on the rise.
The Android fragmentation that our favorite platform’s enemies like to bring up so much is getting closer to its end, as the current round of Android stats show increasing number for Jelly Bean, compared to last month.
The stats, which are based on numbers of devices visiting the Google Play Store, show that the share of Android users running Jelly Bean on their devices is growing rapidly. As you can see in the chart below, the percentage of Jelly Bean users has grown to 33 percent, an increase of about 4.5 percent compared to last month’s 28.4 percent.
Jelly Bean still hasn’t managed to beat Gingerbread as the most used Android OS, but it’s getting there pretty quickly – as you can see in the chart, Gingerbread is currently at 37 percent, down from 38.5 percent last month.
Ice Cream Sandwich is also down to 25.6 percent from 27.5 percent in the last edition of the Android stats, while Froyo has registered a smaller drop, from 3.7 percent to 3.2.
What does this tell us?
This is the result of a number of factors, the most obvious one being the huge success of flagship Android devices, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, which are running Jelly Bean. But that’s not all – manufacturers have started using Jelly Bean on cheaper devices, too, offering you, the user, the experience of the most advanced Android OS out there. Just think of affordable devices, like the Sony Xperia L, coming with Jelly Bean out of the box. Those show up in the numbers just as much as more expensive devices do.
More than that, news articles about older devices getting Jelly Bean updates are no longer something out of the ordinary, meaning that more and more users get to enjoy the latest versions of Android.
We saw some interesting stats this morning regarding the distribution of Android versions. Gingerbread still dominates, but Jelly Bean has now surpassed Ice Cream Sandwich. Surprisingly some users are still lingering on Froyo and Éclair, which made me appreciate just how fragmented our favourite operating system has become.
Until earlier I hadn’t really thought about this age-old debate for a while, but what better time to re-consider the old arguments than now. Here are my thoughts regarding some of the common arguments about the fragmented Android operating system.
If anything this is probably my biggest (only?) complaint about Android, there is no pressure from Google for carriers to offer consumers the latest versions of Android. Even if their handsets are capable of running it and an Android update is released by the manufacturer, carriers are painstaking slow at delivering upgrades, if they even bother at all. The reason for this is, of course, the cost, if a carrier can save money by not having to re-design its bloat-ware to be compatible with a new version of Android they will avoid doing so. Plus it’s a bonus if they can convince users to purchase new handsets rather than prolong the life-span of existing models through updates.
I’m not going to attempt to defend this, but I will say that it’s a problem that we the consumer can solve without the need Google to force carriers to bear the cost of updating. If, like me, you’d like carriers to start upgrading handsets more regularly we have the choice to buy Nexus devices or SIM-free handsets, or simply moving contracts over to providers who are better at keeping things up to date.
My next handset will probably be a Nexus device, I’m tired of waiting for carrier updates.
This is certainly the best complaint against Google allowing Android to fragment so easily, 1-0 to the cons.
Standing in the way of progress?
I’m sure you’ve all heard the argument that we’d all be better off if Google could push out updates to handsets just like Apple does. That progress is slowed down by the time it takes for updates to reach consumers, and that we’d be better off if manufactures were contractually obliged to provide consumers with the latest features. Only 2.3% of users are currently running the latest version of Android 4.2.x, which certainly proves that users aren’t as up to date as they good be.
My response: try out Cyanogenmod, Paranoid Android, or a variety of other ROMs then come back to me. I’m running Android 4.2.2 for day to day use on my old Galaxy S2 thanks to CM10.1. I know that rooting and fiddling around with backups and zip files isn’t for everyone, and on some devices it can be a really difficult process. Open-source has mostly solved this problem for Android, providing that users are prepared to learn a little about ROMs. But I suppose that this has to count against fragmentation, as many consumers are still missing out on the latest features.
Keeping your old handset or buying on a budget
Ok so pro fragmentation isn’t doing very well so far, but there are some good reasons, besides lazy carriers, as to why Gingerbread is still the predominant Android version, even though it was released all the way back at the end of 2010. Some level of handset retention is always going to happen, for example popular mid-range smartphones like the Galaxy Ace are still running Gingerbread. Another reason is also that emerging markets are still picking up mid and more budget orientated products which simply aren’t capable of running newer version of Android.
I still have my first Android phone, the Xperia X10. Stuck on Gingerbread 2.3.3 due to old hardware, it’s still a perfectly serviceable phone more than three years after release.
For example, to have your product certified by Google as capable of running Jelly Bean your device must have at least 340MB of memory available to the kernel and userspace, so old 258MB smartphones are out of the running for an update. As we know, Android is doing well in emerging markets and is picking up significant shares of the market. Without them, Android would be a smaller platform and consumers would be missing out.
Of course this means that budget consumers can start running into compatibility issues with newer apps, there’s an obvious a lack of support for new features, and eventually these handsets are left incompatible with new technologies, something that Firefox OS is keen to address.
But something is better than nothing, and on the whole fragmentation tends to be a boon for mid-range and low-end consumers. The greatest strength of a “fragmented” operating system is that it keeps the platform open to a much wider range of budgets, which makes the score 2-1.
App development/compatibility issues
Another potential problem is that some new apps fail to support aging versions of Android, but development times and costs are clearly the issue here. I myself have seen quite a few apps on the market that now only support Android 4.0 and up, which only accounts for 55.9% of all Android users, and some that don’t yet work with Android 4.2.2. It’s a pain when you’re favourite app bugs out due to an update; I’ve experienced it myself a few times.
On the other hand, there’s nothing preventing app developers from building and supporting software designed for older or newer versions of Android, and most developers do. The market works on simple demand economics, if people are still using Gingerbread developers will support it, when a new version of Android comes out developers will build apps for it. Sure it takes a little bit more time than enforcing a standard, but eventually everything is covered.
It’s not an argument that I think holds a lot of weight behind it. I’m going to call this all square at 2-2.
Having considered all these points I’ve come to the conclusion that fragmentation certainly has it’s problems, however we already have solutions for most of them. On the whole, it probably isn’t something which should be held as a black mark against the Android operating system. Despite the fact that there are more Android versions than ever before, there are more solutions available to deal with the little issues associated with fragmentation.
There are Nexus devices if you want to avoid carrier update delays, yet there are still Gingerbread devices around if you’re looking for something on a budget. A fragmented system allows consumers and developers alike to find products which fit their particular niche, and that, in my opinion, is one of Android’s greatest strengths. If we like new features then we can upgrade to a new handset or ROM and developers will follow consumers, but we’ll never be forced to use features that we don’t like.
As far as I’m concerned this free movement of consumers and developers ensures a healthy balance of diligence and innovation. How about you, do you believe that it’s better to leave the platform truly open, or are the old lingering Android versions holding the rest of us back?
Google has published new Android stats that show Jelly Bean’s growing share of the Android pie at the expense of previous versions.
Combined, Android 4.2.x Jelly Bean (2.3%) and Android 4.1.x Jelly Bean (26.1%) account for 28.4% share, or just enough to move past Ice Cream Sandwich in the charts which has a 27.5% share.
The numbers are based on “data collected during a 14-day period ending on May 1, 2013” and use Google’s new algorithm to count Android devices, which focuses on Google Play Store visits rather than data from Google’s servers:
Beginning in April, 2013, these charts are now built using data collected from each device when the user visits the Google Play Store. Previously, the data was collected when the device simply checked-in to Google servers. We believe the new data more accurately reflects those users who are most engaged in the Android and Google Play ecosystem.
Gingerbread is still the most used Android OS out there, accounting for 38.5% of the Android ecosystem, while older OS versions including Donut, Eclair, Froyo, and Honeycomb are still in the picture, but they account for less than 6% combined.
Obviously, the numbers shouldn’t be that surprising considering that more OEMs are releasing Jelly Bean-running devices, but also upgrading more of their existing smartphones and tablets to one of Google’s Jelly Bean versions.
Furthermore, new rumors combined with server log data seem to suggest that Google may be launching an Android 4.3 version at Google I/O later this month. Android 4.3 is expected to be part of the Jelly Bean family, a move that would give and OEMs plenty of time to upgrade existing devices to Jelly Bean before moving to a next major OS such as Android 5.0.
Among the new features you’ll get to experience with Jelly Bean we’ll mention the improved “buttery” performance, the Google Now search feature and a new TouchWiz Nature UX user interface. Obviously, there are many more Jelly Bean features to explore once the update is performed, so here’s a changelog with everything new in Jelly Bean.